School: Naples Barron Collier, Florida.
Projected position: 2011 Tight end.
Size: 6-foot-5, 240-pounds.
Ranking: Three-star prospect.
Recruiting: Committed to Ohio State.
Overall rank: Number-24 tight end in America.
MY FIRST MEETING: I first saw Jeff Heuerman in late January of his junior season at a 7on7 tryout camp. I was actually in Miami for my annual trip to cover the South Florida Express, but fellow Scout colleague Geoff Vogt wanted me to come to Naples to see the team he was coaching. I had never heard of any of the kids on his team, but he assured me there were two big time kids there. Driving two hours to see two players was not what I really wanted to do, but knowing how well Vogt evaluates talent, it was a no-brainer. The two hours driving back to Miami was spent calling and texting every college coach I knew about the two kids, Heuerman and Aaron Lynch. Between the two of them they had offers from the likes of Purdue, South Florida and Florida International. To me, I was seeing two future NFL football players. Heuerman could run, catch the football, and had a mean streak that I really liked. I know Vogt felt he was ranked too low, and I agreed with him 100%. I saw Heuerman as an LSU recruit because that's where he wanted to be in the South, or at Michigan where his father had played basketball.
THE FIRST INTERVIEW: Heuerman has no problem looking closely at the Big Ten schools, because he has ties to the Midwest.
"My dad (Paul Heuerman) played basketball for Michigan, and I actually lived in Michigan with another family during my eighth grade year, where I played hockey," he said. "We lived in Ann Arbor and I went to every Michigan home game that year. Michigan is obviously my dream school, but they run a spread offense, and I'm not sure how hard they will recruit me. They have been in contact, and they want me to come to camp, which I probably will do."
"I also really like LSU a lot, and I went to the Arkansas game there last season," he explained. "They're another one of my top schools, and I loved the atmosphere there. I toured the facilities and fell in love with everything. They haven't offered yet, but I sure hope they do."
HOW OHIO STATE LANDED HEUERMAN: This one was a crazy recruitment, and the famed Ohio State spring game sealed the deal. Heuerman was on a tour of the Midwest and had been to Michigan prior to coming to Ohio State. He landed an offer from Rich Rodriguez, and all appeared well for the Wolverines to land the tight end. And then the Ohio State visit took place, and Paul Heuerman was with his son. Jim Tressel extended the offer, and then former Buckeye safety Jeremy Cash took over and really jump-started Ohio State's recruitment. The other Florida players on the roster joined in (Jaamal Berry, Travis Howard and Etienne Sabino), and the rest is history.
THE TIMELINE OF HOW IT WENT DOWN:
Saturday afternoon, April 24: "Before the game, down on the field, was just unbelievable being there," he informed. "I hung out with Jeremy Cash mostly, and we really hit it off. We started talking about rooming together at Ohio State, if I would go there, because we're both reporting early." "I started thinking about committing during the game, but I wanted to discuss it further with my dad, to get his thoughts," he continued. "My dad thought it would be a good idea for me to spend Saturday night with the current Ohio State players, to get a feel for the type of people they are."
Saturday evening, April 24: "I went out with the other Florida guys that night, and we met up with a lot of the guys on the team," Heuerman stated. "We went to a draft party for Kurt Coleman, and hung out with all the guys. All of them were so positive about Ohio State, and they all welcomed me. I really liked Coleman and Jaamal Berry a lot, really all the guys were great."
"I had spoken to my dad before we went out Saturday night, and he knew how I felt about Ohio State," he stressed. "Everyone asks my dad about me going to Michigan, like he did, but he knows Ohio State is just a better program right now. Coach Tressel's situation is so stable, and they have a chance to win the national championship every year. We both agreed this was clearly the right place for me, but we wanted to go back home and talk to my coach, to bring him into the loop. Once we met with him, all that was left to do was to call Coach Tressel and make it official, which I did that evening."
MY FINAL MEMORY: It would definitely be Heuerman wearing Braxton Miller's jersey #5 this past season, and I'm not sure fans know how much players LOVE their own numbers. It's definitely an act of selflessness and leadership. I wish he wouldn't have struggled with injuries this past season, but walking off the final game knowing you just won the national championship is about as good as it gets. For the record, I wrote seven articles on Heuerman, which is pretty remarkable because I was not the the primary reporter assigned to him by a longshot. His father, Paul, is a great man, and Jeff is proof the apple didn't fall far from the tree.